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PM Jugnauth Underpins Importance Of Regional Cooperation To Tackle Drug Issues

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Regional cooperation remains the key to the effective response to the different aspects of the drug issue, affirmed the Prime Minister, Mr. Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, yesterday morning. The Prime Minister made this statement this morning, as he launched the High Level Meeting of the Eastern and Southern Africa Commission on Drugs (ESACD) , being held at the Victoria Beachcomber Hotel, in Pointe aux Piments.

The Head of Government pointed out that at a time when our region has become a destination point for drugs, with more and more people caught up in the vicious circle of consumption, a concerted approach is needed to combat the drug threat. This conference, he stressed, can make an important contribution to our collective efforts to meet the many challenges.

High Level Meeting of the Eastern and Southern Africa Commission on Drugs

He reiterated that everyone has a stake in the issue of illegal drugs, while warning that narcotics destroy lives, deprive young people of their future, tear families apart and make streets less safe.

With regard to the government’s response to the drug problem, he said that it had set itself the national mission of tackling the problem by being tough on the traffickers while humanizing the victims. According to him, it is necessary to raise strategies and policies concerning drug trafficking and use to the level of response required by the gravity of the situation following the significant increase in domestic drug use experienced by countries in the region as a result of new supply chains and maritime trafficking channels.

High Level Meeting of the Eastern and Southern Africa Commission on Drugs

The Head of Government also dwelt on the series of measures that have been taken to tackle the drug problem in Mauritius. These include: the establishment of the Commission of Inquiry into Drug Trafficking in 2015, whose report delivered in 2018 is currently being implemented; the establishment of a High Level Council on Drugs and HIV to oversee and direct the national response to drug trafficking and use; and the implementation of the Mauritius Drug Master Plan 2019-2023 in a balanced, comprehensive and effective manner.

He also pointed out that, in line with the government’s zero-tolerance policy, the police are implementing a series of measures to disrupt the drug supply circuit, and that collaboration between the various drug control law enforcement agencies has been strengthened.

High Level Meeting of the Eastern and Southern Africa Commission on Drugs

Other measures include the provision of various health and social services to people who use drugs, a methadone substitution therapy program, rehabilitation services and the creation of addiction centers in the five regional hospitals.

The Head of Government also declared that extensive awareness campaigns are being carried out and that the drug prevention program, Get Connected, is being implemented in educational establishments, while announcing that the Rebound program for students aged 14 to 25, will also be implemented shortly.

In addition, the Prime Minister pointed out that Mauritius is one of the few countries to have a National Drugs Observatory, which, he stressed, provides key data for effective action. He also added that Mauritius recently hosted a regional conference involving ten countries in the Western Indian Ocean region, with the aim of setting up a regional monitoring system for the Regional Drug Observatory.

High Level Meeting of the Eastern and Southern Africa Commission on Drugs

Various eminent personalities, including ESACD Chairman and former President of South Africa, Mr. Kgalema Motlanthe, Minister of Health and Welfare, Dr. Kailesh Kumar Singh Jagutpal, social worker Sam Lauthan, and the former president of the republic, Cassam Uteem.

At the high-level meeting, to be held August 10-11, 2023 in Mauritius, participants will discuss drug policy and legislation in the region; maritime drug trafficking and law enforcement strategies to disrupt illicit markets in the region; and the role of civil society in evidence-based drug policy recommendations in Eastern and Southern Africa.

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